Airport and Toronto train links again under study

Update as the talk continues
Michel Kelly-Gagnon: CN route best for region, business
The Gazette recently endorsed the choice of the CP line as the best route for the long-promised train shuttle between Trudeau airport and downtown (“Readers are right: CP route is miles better,” Editorial, April 18). Admittedly, the CP route has some good arguments in its favour. Chief among them: It’s shorter and would be cheaper to operate. However those arguments miss a crucial point: The project supported by The Gazette and its readers is of local interest, while linking the airport to downtown would be of national interest.
Montreal is the transport hub of eastern Canada. Airplanes from around the world use Trudeau airport. Trains leaving Central Station drop passengers in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Gaspé, Abitibi, Ottawa, Kingston, and Toronto. Connecting the airport and Central Station would strengthen Montreal as a focal destination point in Canada.
4 April 2008
Montreal airport train link nears
A dedicated train link between the airport and downtown has been talked about for years, but concern about the environment is what’s going to make the project finally happen, airport boss James Cherry predicted yesterday.
All the agencies involved agree a shuttle train is needed to serve Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, but it’s really the need to provide more efficient mass transit, so West Island commuters will leave their cars at home, that probably will seal the deal, said Cherry, president and chief executive officer of Aéroports de Montréal.
And although it is premature to talk of any dates, Cherry says, it couldn’t happen soon enough. “Traffic is getting worse (on Highway 20) every day, in both directions from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 at night,” he told The Gazette editorial board in a review of issues affecting the airport. This congestion affects all West Island communities and only a dedicated passenger rail link to downtown can solve it, he said.
15 January 2008
Train comes full circle, back into vogue
Airport transit line, high-speed T.O. link suddenly feasible
ANDY RIGA The Gazette
January 15, 2008

Bumper-to-bumper traffic on Highway 20 near Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport last night.
CREDIT: JOHN KENNEY THE GAZETTE
Bumper-to-bumper traffic on Highway 20 near Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport last night

To understand why two long-mulled train megaprojects are suddenly in vogue again, visit Dorval at rush hour.
Streams of cars arrive and leave Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, often in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Motorists speed to and from Toronto on Highway 20. Planes take off for the short hop to Toronto. Travellers wait in long lines for taxis at the airport stand.
After decades of debate, study and neglect, some experts say the time is right for the proposed trains: a high-speed Montreal-Toronto rail link, and a light-rail transit line connecting downtown, the airport and the West Island.
Fuel costs are rising, there are growing demands to cut greenhouse gases spewed by aircraft and cars, and society is realizing vehicular traffic is a major drain on the economy.
On Thursday, the Quebec, Ontario and federal governments announced they will spend a total of $2 million to update previous feasibility studies of a high-speed train in the Quebec City-Windsor, Ont., corridor.
On the same day, it emerged that transit authorities and all three levels of government are studying plans for a “tram-train” light-rail project to provide the first direct public-transit link to Trudeau airport. Serving commuters and airport users, it would run from the West Island to downtown.
Trains would help reduce the production of greenhouse gases and alleviate the road traffic that Transport Canada estimates costs $854 million a year in Montreal including the cost of time lost to travellers, wasted fuel and increased greenhouse-gas emissions.
Economist Mario Iacobacci, director of research at the Conference Board of Canada, said the new government initiative will help determine whether benefits to the public (like fewer carbon emissions and less traffic) would justify the big investment of taxpayer cash. “These projects are not economically feasible on their own; they won’t make money,” said Iacobacci, who has worked as a consultant on European high-speed train.
The tramway-train envisaged for a possible new downtown- airport-West Island line would aim to cut car traffic at the airport and improve West Island commuter train service, which is now limited because of the amount of freight traffic on the tracks it uses. No cost estimate is available for the project.
Less pollution and traffic aren’t the only benefits of airport rail links. Fewer people drive to airports with train stations, allowing airports to shrink parking lots and tap the real estate for more productive uses, like business centres, hotels and malls. Full article

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